Suicide Dissolution

Trigger warning:  This post discusses suicide, if it is a subject that triggers you, please do not read this post.  If you are suffering from depression, having thoughts of suicide, please seek help by calling the Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255

imagesI only know one person that committed suicide.  He was a patient of mine.  There were plenty of patients over the years that had tried, but all of them were unsuccessful.  Except for him.  Over the years, whenever suicide becomes big news, my mind often goes back to him.  I search all of my recollections of meeting him in the office, talking about his job, his family, his military experience, and I never once suspected that he would take his own life.  Never.  Once.  He never seemed depressed, never admitted to being depressed, never expressed any feelings of desperation, isolation, loneliness, sadness, or rejection.  He was pleasant, likable, even a bit jovial.

Someone in the office saw the headlines in the local paper and told me that he had died.  I couldn’t believe it, I had to see for myself, the article read:  Suicide.  I instantly called his wife.  She was inconsolable, she could barely speak.  I knew there were no words, but I wanted her to know that I was there for her.

I think about him then and now and wonder, was there anything that I could have done to save him?  I knew him well, I was his doctor, and I never once considered the possibility.  There were no clues.  None.  He was the last person in the world that could have done such a thing, but he did it and there was nothing that I could have done to stop it.

I wish there was because I feel like I failed him.

My sweet lovely husband and I have been talking about suicide a lot lately since the recent slew of celebrity deaths.  My husband’s gentle demeanor and upbeat personality can not fathom the spiritual and emotional black hole that sucks the life out of a human being.  He had a lovely childhood, with lovely parents, a warm bed, clean clothes, church 2-3 times a week.  He knew kindness, community, a higher power, gentleness, and comfort.  Not everyone is so lucky.  Not everyone experiences life in these terms.

Life can be hard.  Not just hard, but downright cruel, wrought with evil.  Life can take you to places that undermine your sanity, leave you reeling, wondering, what is this all for?  It can feel like a Godless place, full of despair.  The people that know you, share this life with you, may never even know what you are going through.  That is the saddest part, really.  People that know you, love you, need you, can be kept from the truth.  They can be kept from the chance of saving you. It’s not fair.  Suicide is unfair.

If someone comes into the ER with chest pain, at least I have the chance of saving them.

The only chance we have is to be kind.  To everyone.  All the time.  We have to change the  societal discourse that is willing to encourage the killing of strangers with guns, remove children from foreigners seeking asylum, throw insults anonymously over social media, allow children to go without food or medicine, hate people that don’t think like us, love like us, look like us.

We have to care about each other, the planet, and above all, we have to value life.



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14 Responses to Suicide Dissolution

  1. Thank you for such a beautiful and reflective piece.

    If I could offer a general suggestion to readers – here and elsewhere: Please… can we stop using phrases like “killing themselves” or “committed suicide”? Surely there are more compassionate, less burdensome and criminal ways of describing the death of someone who suffered; “death by suicide” might be one way…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Glenn Redus says:

    My first experience with suicide was my aunt when I was 11-12 years old. Since then I can name five among family and former colleagues who killed themselves, and there’s a sixth that I was never sure about because his family was very secretive about his sudden death. You’d think with all that I’d be better able to figure it out, but I haven’t yet. I Despair will wear you down, and people just get tired.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very well said. My latest post also covers this topic, from the POV of someone with depression. I invite you to read it when you can.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Excellent and well written post. Suicide seems like such a selfish act with no concern for others. Actually they do care but reach a point where the mental pain is too much. I reflect about the suicides and can not imagine the grief that is felt by the loved ones left to mourn and wonder for the rest of their lives. It is so very sad.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Deb says:

    It takes so very little effort to treat someone the way you as an individual would hope to be treated, recognized, welcomed, listened to, understood… We can all do a better job, some need to practice this skill and live by the ideal much more than others.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. drugopinions says:

    I agree. Be kind and pay attention to our own and others feelings and emotions. We need to connect with each other more. Often it is not discussed or analyzed how kindness helps to make others feel better, how it saves the day or it gives others hope. It is such an abstract concept that it can’t be measured. But it is so vital to our humanity.

    Liked by 2 people

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